New Castle Town Council heads for the hills
NEW CASTLE – New Castle Town Council members took a hike Tuesday evening.A group of town leaders began their scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m., outside and on foot, to get a good look at a new proposed park location at Castle Valley Ranch, and to see where Castle Valley developers want to build six townhouse buildings.And after tromping through a townhouse – and across a hillside – the vote was unanimous: Council members said yes to both projects. After touring a model townhouse at the Villas at the Peaks, the group headed over to a rolling meadow adjacent to Kathryn Senor Elementary School. Led by Glenn Walters of Design Workshop in Vail, and Steve Craven and Joel Parker of Castle Valley Ranch, town officials walked the 15-acre park site northeast of the subdivision. Walters, the park’s conceptual designer, pointed out playing fields and picnic areas while Craven paced off the outskirts of the park to give an idea of its size. Craven said Castle Valley Ranch will donate the 15-acre park site. Walters explained that an earlier parcel of land that was under consideration for a park site was shaped in more of a block. The revised plan is a “system of parks,” explained Walters, a curving snake of land which allows close access to many more Castle Valley residents.”We’ve created a string of activities,” Walters said. Craven said his group used information from a town survey to determine what people wanted most.”Access to trails on the BLM was No. 1,” Craven said, followed by a community pool and ballfields. The park is divided into three segments:-North Park could contain ballfields.-A multi-use area where a pool and community center could go.-An additional area called – no kidding – South Park for picnic areas and places for kids to run around and play hide-and-seek.”We’re calling that area `The Camp,’ for now,” said Walters. “It’s the park of every kids’ dream.” Following the presentation, the council gave quick and unanimous approval to the park’s land designation.”Our next step to get the ball rolling with the town,” Craven said. Town attorney David McConaughy said Castle Valley developers and town staff should have an agreement on the plan ready by June 1, and should shoot for approval by Aug. 1.Following the park approval, council members approved Castle Valley’s sketch plan review for its six additional townhouse buildings, containing 18 units identical to the Villas at the Peaks. They will butt up against the new park. Mountain View Homes proposalDevelopers from Mountain View Homes, also pitched a 78-unit housing development to the council. The proposed project, being developed by Jay Leavitt and Glenn Gazley, is on a steep 11-acre parcel of land on the hill above City Market near the Shubui Apartments and off Castle Valley Boulevard. Although council members admitted they didn’t have much experience with the type of development Leavitt is proposing, they encouraged him to proceed with preliminary plans. Leavitt showed council members sketches of the proposed housing development, which features alleys and parking areas behind a combination of 78 townhomes and single family homes. The project has shared sidewalks and courtyard areas in the front – an example of a new urbanism design that fosters community interaction within neighborhoods. “Developments like this become micro-neighborhoods,” said Leavitt. “People get to know each other’s neighbors.”Leavitt said he estimates the average price for the units to be around $200,000.Council members had a list of concerns, including adequate parking, density and the multi-family feel of the project.”This community doesn’t have any experience with this kind of hybrid product,” said Mayor Bill Wentzel. “But we have every incentive to want your development to be successful.”The council approved Mountain View going to a preliminary plat review. Leavitt and the New Castle Planning Commission will work together on the plan, taking into consideration the town’s concerns. In other business, Dan Blankenship and Mike Davis of Roaring Fork Transportation Authority reporting on New Castle bus service, which has been in operation for a year. Blankenship said ridership has grown over the year but is still not paying for itself, and that RFTA needs to make buses more convenient and cost effective for people to abandon their cars in favor of taking the bus.
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